Two words: Summer. Break. We might not have had a typical start to summer, but there’s no reason you can’t still enjoy a little sunshine in the great outdoors. With many Washington counties in phase 2 or beyond for reopening, the options for summer excursions are slowly but surely expanding.

Camp in Safety

For the past several months, hiking has exploded in popularity thanks to the ease of social distancing outdoors. As state parks begin to reopen, camping is within reach as well. Over 30 state parks have announced that their roofed accommodations — including cabins, yurts and vacation homes — are now available to rent. The parks are continuing to take extra precautions during the pandemic, with measures including a later check-in time of 4 p.m. to facilitate extra cleaning and sanitizing, as well as requiring guests to provide their own blankets, towels and linens.

While you can now rent a variety of camping accommodations, it’s still important to practice basic safety measures. Make sure you keep your camping group small, and ideally you should camp with people from your own household. With your trusty mask and hand sanitizer to back you up, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying a beautiful Washington summer.

Stop and Smell the Lavender

Out on the peninsula, July is often synonymous with the Lavender Festival—an annual explosion of visitors, music, food and of course, all things lavender. While the festival has been canceled in its usual form, many of the local farms are still open and receiving visitors, albeit with some modifications for safety. This year, there will be no music or outside vendors, but many of the lavender farms are still accepting visitors by appointment — and they’re not charging admission this year.

With Sequim only a 2-hour drive from Seattle, a trip to the lavender farms for some sightseeing and socially-distanced exploration will break up the monotony of quarantine. Not only that, with food and fragrant products available, a visit to the farms is a great way to support local business and treat yourself.

Get Wild at the Zoo

Looking for something to make you feel like a kid again? Both Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle and Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma have reopened to the public, with sensible safety measures in place. Both zoos are currently requiring face masks for entry, and guests must select their entry time online. Additionally, the zoos have created one-way paths through each park to limit congestion and encourage social distancing.

If you needed any other reason to start planning your visit, Point Defiance Zoo recently welcomed a baby muskox this spring, while Woodland Park Zoo has a baby tapir.

Why not take a day to walk on the wild side in kid-like wonder this summer?

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